Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami , 1999-01-28
Today Gurudeva talks about how to maintain harmony in an ashram or large family. The key, he explains, is for the leaders to show no favoritism toward the members, to treat each the same and have no likes or dislikes. Similarly, the members need to not like one more than another, which only creates division and disharmony.
A question that is normally always asked is "How is it possible to have a harmonious ashram?"
Well, there are various ways and it is possible. An ashram is a big home. All those in charge should show no favoritism. Father and mother in charge of the home, should know no favoritism, make one child special over another. This causes division, hurt feelings, neglect. The one who is neglected therefore, often does bad things, to gain the attention of the mother and father.
It is no different within an ashram of 50-60 or 100 people. Favoritism is division. Treat everybody the same. The same noble spirit is within everyone. If one can do this, harmony takes place. An ashram doing religious work, is a one, big mind of many minds blended together in a oneness, performing a mission - the mission of the ashram. Of course, the mission goals must be clearly defined, absolutely clearly defined, of what the institution stands for, and what it is going to do, is doing and will do in the future. These goals must be clear in everyone's mind, so that all are pointed in the same direction and all are working together, in a oneness, co-operating with each other. This means that every single ashramite helps all the others. So, everyone is helping the entire group. This is called religious service.
If everyone is not helping the group, and is forming likes and dislikes - "I like this person and that person, better than the other 49 people." That makes division. That begins to break up the mission of the mission. No wonder if the ashram is not fulfilling its total goal. No wonder it is not as successful as it should be. Why? Not because the mission statement was wrong. It was because wrong people are living in the ashram. They have to be taught, just as children at home and mothers and fathers, that working with togetherness is a creative force, working with favoritism is a destructive force and also liking one or two people, more than others, making friends. Obviously, enemies are made at the same time.
We hope this answers the question of how to make an ashram harmonious. It is the same as a harmonious home and a great extended family or a joint family, living together in one house, who bring success upon themselves or failure upon themselves, simply by the policies that are implemented by the leaders - be it a mother or father, swami or guru, minister or priest. Doesn't matter. The principle applies to every group of human beings.
See you again tomorrow. Aum Namah Sivaya.